IBM has laid off nearly 9,300 workers this year, union says
Posted August 24, 2009 3:20 p.m. EDT
Updated August 25, 2009 8:36 a.m. EDT
Research Triangle Park, N.C. — IBM (NYSE: IBM) has laid off more nearly 9,300 employees in North America so far this year, according to internal documents obtained by a union seeking to represent Big Blue workers.
“Resource Action” information provided to Alliance@IBM spell out in specific numbers how many cuts were made, in which business group and when the reductions were made.
The “RA” forms include the age and title of workers who are laid off or given a chance to find another job within the company as well as the same information about workers who were not affected.
Earlier this year, Alliance@IBM forecast that IBM would lay off some 16,000 people this year.
However, Lee Conrad, national coordinator for the union, told Local Tech Wire that the documents don’t provide a complete accounting of what is happening at IBM.
“I still believe we will reach the 16,000 mark,” he said. “We still do not have the full picture of all the job cuts that have taken place this year.”
Big Blue employs some 400,000 people worldwide, including 10,000 in the Triangle area, and has noted that overall employee headcount has increased.
“IBM has acknowledged notifying employees in N.A. of job reductions,” Doug Shelton, director of IBM Corporate Media Relations, told Local Tech Wire.
However, Shelton did not disclose specific numbers.
“IBM manages resources across a base of nearly 400,000 employees,” he added. “Because we are one of the largest knowledge-based businesses in the world, we rebalance some part of our skill base throughout the year as client demands evolve. Jobs are eliminated in one part of the business and created in other parts of the business as clients demand more focus, a new skill set and/or new resources.
“IBM however, remains the largest tech employer in the U.S. and the world. We learned in the early 90’s that those who wait to address business and competitive issues in this industry don’t survive. We have succeeded as a technology leader for nearly a century, managing the business to best meet the needs of our clients.”
Conrad pointed out that the growth is taking place overseas even though IBM has announced job additions in New York, Iowa and a handful in RTP for a new data center.
“IBM employment growth in the U.S. is not stable or growing,” Conrad said. “In fact it has declined the past three years. Ongoing job cuts and off-shoring have decreased employment.
“I believe the total number of job cuts for this year is significant for IBM communities and the company. These are people who are now or will be unemployed during one of the worse recessions for working people in some time.
“I also believe this number will continue to grow as IBM continues to shift work offshore and terminate U.S. employees.”
Most of the layoffs this year took place in January, but cuts have been made every month with the exceptions of February and June.
IBM refuses to document in most cases how many employees are affected by “RAs” unless as in a recent case in North Carolina where federal law required filing of a so-called “WARN” notice, or Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification. WARN notices requires employers to provide 60 days' notice of covered plant closings and mass layoffs.
Alliance@IBM estimates that the job cuts actually top 10,000 since contractor workers are not included in RA documents.
“We have received numerous reports of small job cuts over the past year that have not been verified through RA packs,” Conrad explained.
“Employee force outs based on Management Initiated Separation also increased this year,” he added. “IBM contractors also are not included in IBM's Resource Action packages.
“We do not have numbers for these three categories but believe that these cuts added to the above push the total above 10,000.”
Conrad acknowledged that the management separations observation is anecdotal.
“The information about Management Initiated Separations come from employees who have been affected,” he said.
Management Initiated Separation refers to individual employee performance reviews.
The RA documents provided to the union reported the following cuts by business units:
- Systems Technology Group - 1,213 cut (January)
- Software Group - 1,419 (January)
- Sales and Distribution - 1,449 (January)
- IBM HR - 92 (January)
- Marketing and Communications - 147 (January)
- IBM Research - 193 (January)
- IBM Finance - 307 (January)
- US CIO - 411 (March)
- Services Delivery - 985 (March)
- GBS Application Services - 1674 (March)
- Global GTS - 181 (March)
- Systems Technology Group - 37 (March)
- GBS Application Services - 462 (April)
- ISC Global Supply - 245 (April)
- Services Delivery - 87 (May)
- Services Delivery - 222 (July)
- GBS Industrial - 184 (Aug)